With its soft, round features, front and center branding and black framed display, the Stratosphere looks like any other Verizon-Samsung candybar phone at first blush.
The rear possesses a modest, 5 megapixel camera with equally modest video playback capabilities of 720p HD and recording in 480p. It won't be mistaken for HD 1080p recording and playback of Samsung's Galaxy S II handsets, though the Stratosphere's shutter does pair well with a 1.3 megapixel front-facing camera for video chat.
At .55 inches, the Stratosphere is chunky compared to its S II brethren. The phone also weighs a hefty 5.8 ounces. But that's not unreasonable at all in a QWERTY slider phone.
Here is the slider keyboard, with Verizon's signature 4G LTE access. Verizon boasts download speeds of 5-12M bps per second and upload speeds of 2-5M bps in 4G LTE coverage areas.
Note the five-row keyboard, which we found excellent to the touch. We'd definitely put it on par with the Motorola Droid 3 keyboard, which also has five rows.
You'll note the nice dialer on the touch screen. The red arrows framing the keyboard show physical versions of the classic Android control buttons, including the settings and home buttons on the left and the search and back buttons on the right.
Control Buttons, Settings
We tested those buttons to make sure they worked up to par. The Settings certainly did.
Search also worked well, especially when we agreed to give the phone access to our approximate location for personalized search.
The Stratosphere's contacts screen shows off the crispness of the phone's Super AMOLED display, among the brightest in the business.
Verizon and Samsung included a cool note-taking app for this phone.
The Usual Bloatware
The Stratosphere is also fitted with Verizon's finest bloatware.
The inclusion of QuickOffice is only one of the many tools the company offers to make the phone attractive to corporate road warriors. Also included are Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync with direct push, email, calendar and contact sync, and support for secure remote device management from Sybase.